HIGH-FLYING Mansfield Town head for Barrow on Saturday (3pm) aiming to avoid becoming the latest leading side to fall to the Cumbrians and extend their current fantastic run of results.
And manager Paul Cox feels Saturday’s longest trip of the season is so important he will know afterwards where the club will be in the table come Christmas.
After Saturday’s fantastic 5-0 televised drubbing of Newport County, Paul Cox’s men have now won four on the bounce without conceding a goal – the first time the club have achieved that since the promotion-winning season of 1976/77 – and confidence is sky high.
But Barrow’s 3-1 win over Wrexham last weekend was the second time they have taken the scalp of a table-topping team already this season and Cox knows Stags will pay heavily if they take the Bluebirds lightly.
“We must approach the Barrow game in the right mindset again or the wheels will fall off,” he said.
“You only have to look at their results to know we underestimate them at our peril.
“I honestly believe that after Saturday I will be able to tell where we are likely to be at Christmas. I may be able to say we can go to a hard place and get a result.
“We have got to be even more prepared than last weekend. Going away to Barrow is a totally different concept.
“It will be a totally different environment and a different mindset to come up against. It is going to be a hell of a battle. The two guys in charge up the have done a great job and I know they like to bring the ‘big boys’ down a peg or two.
“Thankfully our lads really have the bit between their teeth right now and I am sure will look at this as a challenge and know they can’t just go there, stroll round and pose. If they do that they will come away with nothing.
“We are going up on Friday. I always believe the lads would prefer to sleep in their own beds. I would prefer to sleep in mind. But on this occasion I believe it would be best to go up there overnight.
Barrow have won their last two and their season includes a 4-0 thrashing of Fleetwood with striker Adam Boyes already finding the net seven times.
Barrow will be without injured central defenders Phil Bolland and Mike Pearson but have brought in Oldham striker Ryan Brooke on loan to cover for injured forward Andy Cook.
On Tuesday night (7.45) Mansfield are back in action at home to Telford United who, despite being 17th, drew 1-1 with Stockport last weekend and have won at York as well as beating Newport at home.